Quote from Art of Engagement by Peter Selz

Excerpt from “Art of Engagement – Visual Politics in California and Beyond” Peter Selz
University of California Press, Berkeley, 2006. Pg 233-235

Joyce Cutler-Shaw’s work, with its fusion of image and text, asks us to reflect more generally on our relation to our environment as we follow the artist’s excursions into science, through investigations of bird migration, human anatomy, and other aspects of nature…

…In 2002 Cutler-Shaw received a commission from the Mission Valley Branch Library in San Diego to create a permanent installation relating to the ecology of the area. The new library is adjacent to the San Diego River, and it wanted to stress the connection between the building and its books and the river, which is the prime natural resource of San Diego’s Mission Valley. The architect had accentuated this relationship in the building’s design, and Cutler-Shaw worked with elements from the river’s embankment…

…Her ceiling canopy for the main reading room, The Sycamore Leaf Canopy, is composed of eight sixteenby-sixteen-foot sections of plasma-cut steel, each set within the structural columns that support the library ceiling. Patrons of the reading room find themselves under a canopy of leaf patterns enlivened by light.

The Sycamore Leaf Canopy